Power struggles create distance and hostility instead of closeness and trust. Distance and hostility create resentment, resistance, rebellion (or compliance with lowered self-esteem). Closeness and trust create a safe learning environment. You have a positive influence only in an atmosphere of closeness and trust where there is no fear of blame, shame or pain.
IT TAKES TWO TO CREATE A POWER STRUGGLE.
I have never seen a power drunk child without a power drunk adult real close by. Adults need to remove themselves from the power struggle without winning or giving in. Create a win/win environment. HOW? The following suggestions teach children important life skills including self-discipline, responsibility, cooperation and problem-solving skills -- instead of "approval junkie" compliance or rebellion.
Since a misbehaving child is a discouraged child, the obvious solution for misbehavior is encouragement. Often it is not necessary to deal with the misbehavior. Instead, help the child feel encouraged, significant, and a sense of belonging, and the misbehavior will disappear.
One-on-one time doesn’t have to be long, but should be a small commitment of devoted time for you and your child to be together alone. It is meant to be child-led and will make an incredible difference in maintaining healthy behavior and turning “misbehavior” around. Keep it light and fun—save corrections and heavy topics for another time.
Establishing and maintaining special time with your children puts you on the fast track to minimizing power struggles and does more than anything else to “fill up the tank” of belonging and significance...
Ginny Johnstone is a certified Positive Discipline Parent Educator, consultant and Heal Your Life coach specialising in teaching conscious parenting ideas and self-awareness tools to parents and teachers in South Africa.